Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò
Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York, NY 10011
Events at this location
17Oct6:30 pm- 8:00 pmWhen the American Press Flirted with FascismCasa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York, NY 100116:30 pm - 8:00 pm Italian Jewish Studies Seminar:Italian Jewish Studies Seminar
Ruth Ben Ghiat and Alexander Stille
Ruth Ben Ghiat and Alexander Stille in conversation with Mauro Canali on his new research and book La scoperta dell’Italia on American correspondents in Fascist Italy. Respondent to be announced. Co-presented by Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, NYU Department of History and Centro Primo Levi.
Prof. Canali will present in Italian with English interpreter.
Mauro Canali’s new research, published as La scoperta dell’Italia, examines the activity, impact, and perspectives of American correspondents in Italy from 1900 to 1945 and the beginnings of the modern tradition of international political journalism.
In the wake of the Great War, a small group of American journalists crossed the Atlantic and settled in Italy, upturning the established practice of North American news agencies to rely on resident English-speaking intellectuals as their sources for European news. These were the founders of modern journalism and the protagonists of what is now known as the golden age of foreign press. They experienced and chronicled the birth of a new era, saw century-old empires swept away and replaced by new nations and witnessed the formation of new European political ideologies: communism, fascism, and Nazism.
American correspondents were baffled by the rise of Mussolini’s movement and had little reference through which to analyze it. Some related it to Italy’s recent past, others proposed audacious and rather imaginative comparisons between the Duce and modern American leaders. Still, others tried to picture an Italian archetype based on a superficial understanding of Italian history and on stereotypes of Italians that came from American popular culture and Italian immigration. Echoes of the victorious Bolshevik revolution was also evident in their writing. The “red scare” and the fear of global upheaval influenced the initial positive reaction to Mussolini.
As Ida Tarbell wrote, it was the March on Rome that made Mussolini newsworthy. Before then, the American press did not dedicate much space to Italian politics. Interviews with Mussolini were not considered important enough for publication. The March on Rome, the first serious strike against Western democracy, was described to American readers in a positive light.
Seeing him as a shield against the Bolshevik danger, the young Ernest Hemingway was initially taken by Mussolini’s charm, while Francis Scott Fitzgerald understood immediately that fascism represented a fatal threat to liberal Europe.
If on the one end, early American reactions stemmed from the political atmosphere at home and a perplexing and hard to decipher new European context, on the other, Mussolini wielded increasingly tight control on American reporters and intellectual. He wanted to ensure that his government would make a positive impression on US readers. He wanted the loyalty of the Italian-American community, through which he could influence attitudes towards Italy in the federal government.
Canali’s research provides an in-depth recollection of the way in which Italian fascist propaganda operated in the international arena. It also brings these topics closer to our times, eliciting a reflection on the role and responsibility of the press in international affairs as well as in the way in which local and global cultures shape one another amidst insight, political pressure, and cultural myopia. While foreign press today operates quite differently from the first decades of the 20th century, some of the dilemmas and challenges of the years may still resonate with today’s foreign correspondents.
22Oct - 26Oct 2210:00 amOct 26Michele Sarfatti. Seminar on the Race Law (1938-2018).Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York, NY 1001110:00 am - 12:00 am (26) Italian Jewish Studies Seminar:Italian Jewish Studies Seminar
Seminar. An introduction to the
Seminar. An introduction to the study of Mussolini’s Racial Laws presented by one of the leading scholars in the field. Organized by Centro Primo Levi with Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò. NYU Departments of Italian and History. Introduced by Ruth Ben Ghiat and David Forgacs.
Sessions will be held on October 22, 24 and 26.
Registration is required: Molly Engelmann (email@example.com). Attendance is free. Please specify date, name and affiliation. These sessions are not open to the general public. Students and faculty from all member institutions of the Inter-university Consortium as well as independent scholars are welcome to participate.
Michele Sarfatti (Historian. Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan and member of the Italian delegation of IHRA).
October 22 at 6:30 pm: The Anti-Jewish Legislation of Fascist Italy 1938-1943
Context and background – Fascism. The Jews in Italy. Antecedents and Mussolini’s decision. Italian autonomy in the European context. The relation to the law against the populations of the colonies. The question of the Italian citizenship. The racial and biological paradigm.
October 24 at 6:30 pm: The content of the law.
The goals of the law. Foreign Jews: expulsion and internment. The project of the expulsion of Italian Jews. Places of the persecution: school, culture, professions. The internment of “dangerous” Italian Jews. The question of violence. Reactions in Society.
October 26 at 2:00 pm. The persecution of the Jews in Italy (1943-1945).
The armistice of September 8th, 1943. The German occupation. The Italian social Republic. The German arrests. The Italian arrests. Internment camps in Italy. Massacres and deportations to Auschwitz. Statistics. Underground life and survival. Reactions in society.
Michele Sarfatti is the author of seminal works on the Jews and the anti-Semitic persecution in Modern Italy. His groundbreaking study, The Jews in Mussolini’s Italy: from Equality to Persecution, Madison 2006, drastically changed the way in which historians consider the Mussolini’s Racial Laws and the persecution of the Jews in Italy.
Dr. Sarfatti has been Coordinator of the activities (1982-2002) and Director (2002-2016) of the Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea CDEC, Milan. He is one of the founding editors of the e-journal Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. He has been a member of “Commissione Governativa di indagine sui beni degli ebrei in Italia nel periodo delle persecuzioni 1938–1945” (“Commissione Anselmi”), 1998-2001; and of “Commissione Governativa per il recupero del patrimonio bibliografico della comunità ebraica di Roma, razziato nel 1943”, 2003–2008. He is member of Scientific Committees of Fondazione Museo nazionale dell’Ebraismo italiano e della Shoah, Ferrara, and of Fondazione Museo della Shoah, Roma. See also www.michelesarfatti.it.
This seminar is part of a series of programs held on the eightieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Racial Laws.
A collaboration of Centro Primo Levi with NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò and Department of Italian, The New School for Social Research, Eugene Lang College and the Columbia Seminar for Modern Italian Studies.